Record Review: The Psychedelic Furs [US version – part 1]

Columbia ‎| US | LP | 1980 | NJC 36791

The Psychedelic Furs: The Psychedelic Furs US LP [1980]

  1. India
  2. Sister Europe
  3. Susan’s Strange
  4. Fall
  5. We Love You
  6. Soap Commercial
  7. Imitation Of Christ
  8. Pulse
  9. Wedding Song
  10. Flowers

I had been primed for the debut album by The Psychedelic Furs due to exposure to their single “Sister Europe” b/w “* * * *” on the WORJ-FM Import Hour airwaves of 1980. The dark, and moody single was the sonic opposite of their wildly spitting-in-the-face-of-fashion band name. I bought the album the week it hit the stores and it’s been a perennial favorite ever since. Three years of fervid P. Furs fandom was stoked by this album, which was quite different to the UK edition, which I was unaware of back in the day.

It began in the best possible fashion with subtly chiming guitar harmonics over another droning guitar and incongruous shots of staccato white noise; all kept well below 50 dB. Then, at the 2:08 point a crash cymbal brought on the full onslaught of the number. Darkly booming drums with no shortage of reverb would set the stage for the album while the twin guitars alternately chimed and flanged away. Then singer Richard Butler’s poetic croak made its debut and the song thundered away for another 4:15.

Listening to it now, I can hear the foundations of PIL’s “Public Image” being studied by the lads who had decided that something that good should have been at least twice as long as it had been. And so it was. The guitarist here [I can’t say whether it was John Ashton or Richard Morris] had obviously been listening to Keith Levene and bassist Tim Butler showed evidence of Jah Wobble exposure. My hearing of the song “Public Image” was at least a year and a half in the future from the point of hearing this album, but with the benefit of hindsight, its basis as the point of departure for this song was glaringly obvious.

Next: …European Men

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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3 Responses to Record Review: The Psychedelic Furs [US version – part 1]

  1. Yes! This album has been needing the Monk treatment for a long time. Would very much like to see them play live again at some point, since they tour here fairly often these days.

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  2. Jon Chaisson says:

    I picked this one up soon after All of This and Nothing came out in ’88, and immediately fell in love with it. I especially love Richard Butler’s rant midway through “Fall” and the clanky grooviness of “Wedding Song”.

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